Eating Italy currently offers Food Tours in Rome and Florence, and, according to their site, they’ll be adding tours in Venice soon, too! In each city, they offer you a few different options.
We chose to do an evening tour, which consisted of eleven food tastings and six drink tastings.
We started off with a spritz in a completely adorable cellar that lives underneath a completely nondescript (but pleasantly surprising) store filled with vinegar and oils and wine. A spritz, by the way, is what the Italians call an “apertif,” which is basically just the equivalent of a happy hour drink. It’s gone wine and liquor and bitters in it and I could not feel my face afterward (but I am a lightweight, to be fair).
Then we had the most ridiculously delicious appetizer of deep-fried veggies (since when is something deep-fried not the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted in your life?), followed by a meat and cheese platter with a pairing of white wine (side note: marmalade on cheese is ah-mazing).
From there, we had our “main course”: a simple but fresh pasta dish, followed by tripe and the Italian delicacy, oxtail. The tripe was kind of disgusting, but I was very proud of myself for trying pig intestines. The oxtail basically tasted like a beef roast; it tasted fine, but for being such a proud “delicacy,” it was really nothing to write home about.
The restaurant we ate at was quite lovely, too; we dined on a roof terrace, strands of lights crisscrossing above us as all ten of us sat at the same table and shared wine and fresh bread and laughs.
One of the reasons this was one of our favorite excursions or activities was partly because of the delicious food, of course, but I think what made the experience exceptional were the other people on the tour with us, and the guide.
In addition to us four ladies, we had a solo Brit we liked to call “Tomatoes” (in truly terrible British accents, which he took in stride, thank God; also, we called him “Tomatoes” because that’s what he said he’d take with him if he were stranded on a deserted island with only one food), a couple from Chicago, and another couple from Texas. Everyone was incredibly good-natured and we laughed and joked and just had the best time.
A shout-out to our guide as well, Sebastiana, who made everything fun and super-easy. She went out of her way, too, to provide my auntie Sherry with a separate dish, since she doesn’t eat beef, which she absolutely did not have to do but which by auntie very much appreciated.
After we rolled off the rooftop terrace (not literally; we used the stairs, but we were full to bursting), we waddled along for a bit, stopping at a little window on a side street that delivered unto us the most delicious chicken calzone thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Except, you know, I’m a small person and I only had room for about a quarter of it after the previous four courses.
And at the end, of course, was GELATO. Because you cannot do a supper stroll in Italy without having proper gelato. (Oh, the horror I feel just thinking about it.) As full as I was from all the other food we had ingested, I (of course) made room for gelato (because, separate dessert component, hello!).
Also, we learned two ways to tell whether gelato is “fake”:
- If it’s piled high in the glass case, it’s fake.
- If the pistachio is a lurid “Teenage Ninja Turtle” green, it’s fake.
For the rest of our trip, we had fun walking around different places in Italy, scoping out the gelato, and determining whether it was fake. Of course, fake gelato was not really a deterrent (it’s still delicious) but we felt wonderfully snooty feeling like we could pass judgment on anything that was not an authentic ice creamy treat.
My biggest regret of the evening (besides dropping calzone down my shirt)? Not taking enough pictures of the food! But I suppose it’s a testament to the fun time we had: I was living in the moment, stuffing my face full of ridiculously good food, and laughing my way through Testaccio with both new friends and old.
PIN for later:
- italy travel tip: do the best of rome free walking tour
- italy travel tip: take a cooking class in tuscany with accidental tourist
- italy travel tip: when in rome, tour the vatican